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The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. Striking story! Now the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do. And what could be more glorious than to challenge the Emperor himself in the great arena?
~ Commodus' plans against Maximus.
They tell me your son screamed like a girl when they nailed him to the cross. And your wife moaned like a whore when they ravaged her... again... and again... and again.
~ Commodus taunting Maximus over the deaths of the latter's wife and son.

Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus, or just Commodus for short, is the main antagonist of the 2000 historic action film Gladiator.

He is the son (and later killer) of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, brother of Lucilla and uncle of Lucius. Commodus wants to be seen as the most powerful Roman emperor of all time so he would be worshiped as a god, but when he learns that his father intends for Maximus Decimus Meridius, his best soldier, to succeed him in the throne, Commodus resolves to ruin Maximus' life so he can get the throne for himself.

He was portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix.


Commodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius and heir to the Roman throne. After listening to Marcus telling Maximus how he would have wanted him as a son instead, Commodus enviously murders his father and places the blame on Maximus. Maximus escapes his imprisonment and discovered his house burnt down, as well as his wife and son's dead bodies. With the empire under his rule, Commodus cripples the Senate's authority and forces everyone to revere him as a god, distracting the populace with food and 150 days of gladiator combat in honor of his father. During one gladiator tournament, one of the gladiators reveals his intentions to kill the king one day to avenge his family; Maximus.

What Makes Him Pure Evil?

  • Murders his father Marcus Aurelius in cold blood for not loving him enough, even though Marcus genuinely regretted being a terrible father.
  • Hosts 150 days full of various tournaments that involve slaves brutally killing each other just to distract the people from defying his tyrannical rule. These games also ended up ruining Rome's economy in the long run, making him responsible for the eventual degradation of the empire.
  • Blackmails his own sister to sleep with him under the threat that he'll kill her young son, who is also his own nephew.
  • Has Maximus' family killed with his wife raped in a false accusation for "murdering the king".
  • Taunts Maximus over the gruesome details of his beloved ones' deaths; including how his wife was gang raped by his soldiers and his son was crucified and dragged by horses.
  • Orders his men to kill off the conspirators partaking in the plot to assist Maximus in escaping from Rome to build a rebellion and overthrow his rule.
  • Forces his sister to become his sex slave, threatening to kill her son if she resists.
  • Illegally stabs Maximus before his match to gain the advantage in their duel.


  • Commodus is the first Ridley Scott villain to be Pure Evil.

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Animated Movies
General Mandible | Tzekel-Kan | Drago Bludvist | Grimmel the Grisly

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General Roth'h'ar Sarris | Commodus | Robert Turner | Assef | Judge Turpin | The Fallen | Jerry Dandridge

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Ke-Pa | D-Stroy | Sendak | Bloodwolf | Horde Prime | White Bone Demon | Dr. Emilia

See Also
Tales of Arcadia Pure Evils

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Count Dracula (1931) | Uncle Charlie | Max Cady | Bob Ewell | Michael Myers | Thulsa Doom | SkekSo | Baron Vladimir Harkonnen | Chucky | Horace Pinker | Robert G. Durant | Party Crasher | The Robesons | Evil Ash | Amon Goeth | Wade | David McCall | King Einon | Akivasha | Nick Kudrow | Marcus Andrews | Satan | Commodus | David Griffin | Mason Verger | The Killer | Mary Shaw | Emperor Han | Sir Godfrey | Marissa Wiegler | Zack White | Sultan Mehmed II | The Asset | Rose Armitage | Roman Armitage | Cipher | Ahmanet | John Tombs | Rallah | Selena Izzard | Thaddeus Valentine | Dr. Gregory Butler | Brixton Lore | Adrian Griffin | Blissfield Butcher | Jack

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Video Games
Alejandro Sosa

See Also
Universal Animation Pure Evils | Halloween Horror Nights Pure Evils

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Commodus | Mason Verger | Raynald of Châtillon | Guy of Lusignan | Sir Godfrey

Niander Wallace